All foods can be part of a healthy diet. The key is moderation and balance. Choose healthier foods more often. Some foods that can be enjoyed every day include apples, carrots, and milk. Save money and time by buying frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits are typically half the price of fresh and can be kept in the freezer for a lot longer. Fruits and vegetables bought in season are cheaper and fresher. Buy calorie dense foods such as whole milk, potatoes, rice, pasta and oats.

GROCERY SHOPPING TIPS

Only use coupons for items you already planned to buy.

Plan your meals for a week at a time.

Keep a list of items you need. Check your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer to see what you have before going shopping.

Go with a shopping list and shop on a full stomach.

Find one or two places with cheaper prices and buy everything you need from there.

At the grocery store

Compare prices of national brands, store brands, and generic brands.

Buy bulk only when it makes sense. Buying in bulk saves money only if you plan on using all that you have bought.

Look for discount bins for savings on discontinued items, day-old bakery goods, or items that will expire in a day or less.

Check your receipt for mistakes before leaving the store.

Buy discounted meat. Grocery stores usually discount meats up to 70% off as they approach their expiration date.

Look at the cost of an item as cost per ml, cost per kg, cost per paper plate, etc. Use this equation: Cost of item | Number of items (ml, kg, paper plate, etc.).

Some items like bread and cheese can be frozen to make them last longer.

Make soups or stews to use up vegetables and spices before throwing them out.

Pre-cut vegetables for the week and pre-cook meals and freeze them.

BEST BEFORE DATES

Best before dates are set by companies to say how fresh the food is, not when food is safe to eat. Many packaged foods such as crackers, cookies, cereal, and canned foods can be safely eaten long after the best before date. Expiry dates apply to baby food, infant formula, meat and milk. Check the Health Canada website, healthycanadians.gc.ca, for details on food that should be discarded.

Printed with permission from the Edmonton Food Bank.